Elizabeth Carr of St Finian's won a tactical senior girl's race in style at the North Leinster Schools Cross -Country at St Clare's DCU yesterday.
From the start, a group of five broke away with Carr, along with Ciara O'Brien of Loreto Navan and Linda Conroy of Mercy Kilbeggan pushing the pace. Only in the final 400m of the race did Carr move to the front. It left O'Brien and Conroy, a member of the Irish junior team at the European Cross-Country last month, to battle it out for the minor places and they finished in that order.
In the team event, St Finian's beat Mercy Kilbeggan by a single point.
Aaron O'Hanlon of St Mary's Drogheda proved the class of the field in a quality senior boy's race. O'Hanlon, last year's national intermediate champion, waited until the last of four laps to make his move and showed a clean pair of heels to defending champion Ian Guiden of St Aidan's. Cillian Kirwan of St Fintan's was third and Robert Tully of Gormanston fourth.
The team race couldn't have been closer, with only 13 points separating the top four. Scoil Mhuire Mullingar, with all four runners home in the top 16, narrowly beat the fancied teams from St Aidan's and St Fintan's, with St Mary's Drogheda devastated to finish fourth for a second year.
Skerries Community College dominated the girls' inter 2.5km with Rhona Pierce and Isabel Carron breaking away early and finishing first and second. With Sarah Byrne 13th, Aoife Downey 14th, Laura Costello 18th and Ellen Tuck 28th, the team finished first ahead of St Finian's, Mullingar and St Dominic's Cabra, led home by Clio Murphy in third place.
For the inter boys' title, Brian McGrath of St Pat's Navan and Cathal Doyle of St Aidan's were running shoulder to shoulder just as they had done in last week's DCU Invitational. Then Doyle won; this time it was McGrath's turn although St Aidan's at least had the consolation of beating St Pat's to the team title.
A lot more clear cut was the boy's junior race, won, as it was at the DCU Invitational, after a solo effort by Kevin McGrath of St Pat's.
Rose Finnegan of Eureka Kells not only won the girls' junior race but led her team to a clear cut victory. Winners of the minor races were Paddy Maher of Dunshaughlin and Eva Donovan of Loreto Navan.
*Full report on the remaining Leinster zones next week.
North Leinster Cross-Country
(St Clare's DCU, Glasevin, Dublin)
Boys -- Minor: Paddy Maher (Dunshaughlin) 2 Simon Carr (CBS Mullingar), 3 Joseph Quinn (Bush PP). Teams -- 1 Scoil Mhuire Mullingar 21, 2 St Patrick's Navan 52, 3 St Aidan's Whitehall 65. Junior: 1 Kevin McGrath (St Patrick's Navan), 2 Oisin O Gibne (Drogheda Grammar), 3 Jack Reid (St Joseph's Rochfortbridge. Inter: 1 Brian McGrath (St Pat's Navan), 2 Cathal Doyle (St Aidan's), 3 Eoin Strutt (St Fintan's). Teams -- 1 St Aidan's Whitehall 23, 2 St Patrick's Navan 541, 3 St Fintan's Sutton 52. Senior: 1 Aaron Hanlon (St Mary's Drogheda), 2 Ian Guiden (St Aidan's), 3 Cillian Kirwan (St Fintan's). Teams -- 1 Scoil Mhuire Mullingar 41, 2 St Aidan's Whitehall 47, 3 St Fintan's Sutton 51.
Girls - Minor: 1 Eva Donovan (Loreto Navan), 2 Sinead Reynolds (St Dominic's Cabra), 3 Alison Burke (St Dominic's Cabra). Teams: 1 St Dominic's Cabra 12, 2 Loreto Navan 28, 3 Loreto Mullingar 53. Junior: 1 Rose Finnegan (Eureka Kells), 2 Hannah Burne (HF Clontarf), 3 Hannah Bate (Loreto Mullingar). Teams -- 1 Eureka Kells 17 2 Ratoath 34, 3 Holy Faith Clontarf 34. Inter: 1 Rhona Pierce (Skerries CC), 2 Isabel Carron (Skerries CC), 3 Clio Murphy (St Dominci's Cabra. Teams -- 1 Skerries Community College 17, 2 St Finian's Mullingar 25, 3 St Dominics Cabra 36. Senior: 1 Elizabeth Carr (St Finian's Mullingar), 2 Ciara O'Brien (Loreto Navan), 3 Linda Conroy (Mercy Kilbeggan). Teams -- 1 St Finian's Mullingar 35, 2 Mercy Kilbeggan 36, 3 Holy Faith Clontarf.